At the age of thirteen Francesca Woodman took her first self-portrait. From then, up until her untimely death in 1981, aged just 22 she produced an extraordinary body of work (some 800 photographs) acclaimed for its singularity of style and range of innovative techniques. Woodman studied at Rhode Island School of Design, from 1975 – 1979, receiving a grant to spend a year in Rome to continue her studies. Whilst there she produced an extensive body of work and had her first solo exhibition at a bookshop and gallery specializing in Surrealism and Futurism.
Since 1986, her work has been exhibited widely and has been the subject of extensive critical study in the United States and Europe. Woodman is often situated alongside her contemporaries of the late 1970s such as Ana Mendieta and Hannah Wilke, yet her work also foreshadows artists such as Cindy Sherman, Sarah Lucas, Nan Goldin and Karen Finley in their subsequent dialogues with the self and reinterpretations of the female body.
Born in 1958 in Denver, Colorado, Francesca Woodman lived and worked in New York and Italy until her death in 1981. Since 1986 her work has been exhibited widely. Significant solo presentations of Woodman’s work include Francesca Woodman at the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco (2011-12), which subsequently toured to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2012); Francesca Woodman: Retrospective at the Sala Espacio AV, Murcia, touring to SMS Contemporanea, Siena (both 2009); Francesca Woodman: Photographs at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (2003) and Francesca Woodman at the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris (1998), which subsequently toured to Kunsthal, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (1998); Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon, Portugal (1999); The Photographers’ Gallery, London (1999); Centro Cultural TeclaSala, L’Hospitalet, Barcelona (1999-2000); Carla Sozzani Gallery, Milan, (2001); The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2001) and PhotoEspana, Centro Cultural Conde Duque, Madrid (2002). Woodman’s work is represented in the collections of major museums including The Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Whitney Museum of American Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Detroit Institute of Arts; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and Tate/National Galleries of Scotland.
Untitled Film Still #50. 1979. Gelatin silver print, 6 9/16 x 9 7/16″ (16.7 x 24 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Horace W. Goldsmith Fund through Robert B. Menschel. © 2012 Cindy Sherman
In fall 1977, Sherman began making pictures that would eventually become her groundbreaking “Untitled Film Stills.” Over three years, the series (presented here in its entirety) grew to comprise a total of seventy black-and-white photographs. Taken as a whole, the “Untitled Film Stills”—resembling publicity pictures made on movie sets—read like an encyclopedic roster of stereotypical female roles inspired by 1950s and 1960s Hollywood, film noir, B movies, and European art-house films. But while the characters and scenarios may seem familiar, Sherman’s “Stills” are entirely fictitious; they represent clichés (career girl, bombshell, girl on the run, vamp, housewife, and so on) that are deeply embedded in the cultural imagination. While the pictures can be appreciated individually, much of their significance comes in the endless variation of identities from one photograph to the next. As a group they explore the complexity of representation in a world saturated with images, and refer to the cultural filter of images (moving and still) through which we see the world.
The photographs of Ana Mendieta document private sculptural performances enacted in the landscape to invoke and represent the spirit of renewal inspired by nature and the power of the feminine. In her Silueta series (begun in 1974), created on location in Iowa and Mexico, Mendieta carved and shaped her own figure into the earth to leave haunting traces of her body fashioned from flowers, tree branches, mud, gunpowder, and fire. A typology of Siluetas emerged, including figures with arms held overhead to represent the merging of earth and sky; floating in water to symbolize the minimal space between land and sea; and with arms raised and legs together to signify a wandering soul. By 1978, the Siluetas gave way to ancient goddess forms carved into rock, shaped from sand, or incised in clay beds.
An exile from Cuba, Ana Mendieta was sent from her native homeland to an orphanage in Iowa at age 12. This traumatic experience had a tremendous impact on her art. She felt that, through her art, her interactions with nature and work in the landscape would help facilitate the transition between her homeland and new home. By fusing her interests in Afro-Cuban ritual and the pantheistic Santeria religion with contemporary aesthetic practices such as Earthworks, Body art, and Performance art she maintained ties with her Cuban heritage.
The World of Perception, 2010
digital c-print, 97-7/8 x 77-3/4 inches (framed)
The World of Perception, 2010 – detail
digital c-print, 97-7/8 x 77-3/4 inches (framed)
every… Nicholas Nixon’s Brown Sisters, 2004
digital C-print, 43-1/4 x 52-1/8 inches (framed)
Idris Khan transforms the conceptual art of appropriation into an elegant and substantial meditation on the act of creativity. Appropriating icons of literature, music, and art, Khan methodically layers his material, whether it is Beethoven’s symphony, Milton’s Paradise Lost, or Bernd and Hilla Becher’s stylized sculpture of water towers. The process allows the artist to tease out certain areas adjusting the source material so that the soul of the piece is manifested in Khan’s accreted interpretation. For example, in Struggling to Hear… After Ludwig van Beethoven Sonatas, 2005, Beethoven’s entire series of sonatas becomes a dense wall of near blackness; a virtual illustration of the composer’s deafness.
Khan’s work tests our experience of these other art forms; words and music are experienced sequentially, however the artist compresses time visually. Photographic iconography such as Bernd and Hilla Becher’s water tower series—a body of work based on the inherent nature of recurring form—layer upon one another and ultimately create a ghostly animation describing the ‘essence’ of the form rather than each individual tower.
every…William Turner postcard from Tate Britain, 2004
47-1/2 x 62-1/4 inches (framed)
every… Bernd and Hilla Becher Prison Type Gasholder, 2004
80 x 65 inches
Born in Birmingham in 1978, Khan lives and works in London. Solo exhibitions of his work have been mounted at the Gothenburg Konsthall, Sweden (2011), the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (2009), and K20, Düsseldorf (2008). His work has been exhibited at Forum d’art Contemporain, Luxembourg (2008), the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2006), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2006), and the Helsinki Kunsthalle (2005). His work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou, Paris, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, among others. Most recently, Khan was commissioned to design a permanent public monument for the new Memorial Park in Abu Dhabi. The sculpture will be unveiled in late November 2016.
Caravaggio… The final years, 2006. 101” x 68”
Photo Opportunities, Corinne Vionnet, 2005-2013
We travel, we see a monument, we take a picture. Framing sites of mass tourism in our viewfinders, we create photographic souvenirs that are integral to the touristic experience. Conducting keyword searches of famed monuments in photo sharing web sites, Swiss / French artist Corinne Vionnet culled thousands of tourists’ snapshots for her series Photo Opportunities. Weaving together numerous photographic perspectives and experiences, the artist builds her own impressionistic interpretations – ethereal structures which float gently in a dream-like haze of blue sky.
“Why are we here?” … The answer may lie in convergence. Technology may have to wait for the power of the human brain to fully develop its (super)natural abilities. Will the technologies that are then produced be miraculous in that they may not require material substance to work but a faith, a belief in laws of physics so subtle than matter itself cannot withstand their logic? Will they be based in technology so discreet that it will be indistinguishable from the very fabric of the universe and all that is created within it? When we look at science and religion, are we looking at the same technology at different levels of evolution? …
Aim at the Stars, composition of 23 paper collages on board with gold leaf frames, 200 x 390 cm, 2009
Aimez-vous, Paper collage on board with gold leaf frame, 52 x 39 cm, 2009
Juice, Paper collage on board with gold leaf frame, 52 x 39 cm, 2009
Mamma e bimbo, Paper collage on board with gold leaf frame, 43 x 34 cm, 2009
Aleksandra Mir (b. 1967) develops projects that take her around the world to examine the dynamics of popular cultural myths and historical events. In The Seduction of Galileo Galilei (2011), Mir engages in a dialogue with the seventeenth-century Italian “father of modern science,” in a new video work that documents a collaborative, Galileo-inspired gravitational experiment. A selection of collages from Mir’s series The Dream and the Promise (2008–2009) will accompany the video installation. These works, which combine religious iconography with images and symbols of space travel, allude to the complicated, and not always contentious, relationship between science and faith.
Aleksandra Mir was born in Lublin, Poland, in 1967, and is a dual citizen of Sweden and the United States. She received her BFA at the School for Visual Arts, New York in 1992, and from 1994 to 1996 studied Cultural Anthropology at the New School for Social Research, New York. Mir currently lives and works in London, England. Since 1995 her work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States and Europe, including the Venice Biennale (2009) and the Whitney Biennial (2004). Her work is included in important public collections such as the Tate Modern, London and Kunsthaus Zürich, as well as the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.